Preaching: Christ the Preacher
It’s Sunday morning. The alarm buzzes. After convincing yourself that getting vertical is a good thing you slide out of bed and prepare for church. Now, let me ask you a question. What are you expecting to hear when you get there? No, sorry, let me rephrase the question. Who are you expecting to hear? Perhaps you say, “Well, I suppose Pastor so and so, unless he’s out of town and we have a guest preacher.” Yes, but what would you say if I told you that you were actually going to hear Christ preach? Let me show you.
Grab you Bible and turn to Ephesians 2 and notice verse 17. According to the Spirit, it’s an Old Testament quote about the present activity of Jesus. It says, “And He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near…” Now, perhaps the Ephesian believers were sitting there after reading this letter saying, “When did Christ preach peace to us?” At least thirty years had passed between Christ’s ascension and the writing of Paul’s letter. So, when did Christ preach in the Ephesian pulpit? That’s your question. When was Christ the preacher in my church? When did Jesus come as a prophet and proclaim peace to us?
Well, before answering that think for a moment of the letter to the Hebrews (2:12), which says, “I will proclaim your name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” These words are cited from Psalm 22, the last section of the Psalm, the triumphant section. They are understood by the author of the Hebrews to refer to the resurrection ministry of the Messiah. In other words, the resurrected Christ proclaims peace in the midst of the congregation!
But perhaps you’re still saying, “When did he proclaim peace in my congregation?” Now, before answering, let me turn your attention to another text. Look at Romans 10:14. There Paul asks, “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?” It’s true that we can’t believe unless we have heard about Jesus, but the words, “whom they have not heard” imply that in the preaching of the Gospel by the power of the Spirit we hear the living voice of Christ. And then Paul finishes verse 14 with what may come as a surprise to some, “And how will they hear without a preacher?”
So, when has Christ proclaimed peace in your congregation? According to God, it is when the preacher preaches the Gospel and his words are taken up by the power of the Spirit. That is when Christ preaches in your congregation. Is it any wonder that later in the letter to the Ephesians, Paul talks about gifts given to those who will handle God’s revelation? He talks about preachers and teachers who are given the task of handling revelation for the purpose of building the unity of the body in the fullness of Christ.
Brothers and sisters, every time your minister faithfully preaches the Word of God in the pulpit of your church – Christ proclaims peace to you and your fellow brothers and sisters. Isn’t that a comfort to know that Christ speaks His word to you in season and out of season through those men that He has gifted and called to preach? Brothers and sisters, that is a wonderful reason to get out of bed on Sunday morning and to return Sunday evening. Christ is proclaiming peace in the midst of the congregation – your congregation! Where would you rather be?
Jeffrey A. Stivason has been serving the Lord as a minister of the gospel since 1995. He was church planter and now pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gibsonia, PA. He also holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.